India has firmly conveyed its demand to China for restoring the status quo as existed in April along the border during the senior military commander talks on Saturday, sources said.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the talks were held in a “cordial and positive” atmosphere, and both sides will continue the military and diplomatic engagements to “resolve the situation”.
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Sources said the talks, which went on for several hours, remained inconclusive, but each side put across their issues, which would be conveyed to the respective governments and taken up in subsequent meetings. While India was firm on restoring the status quo of April and pull back of Chinese troops and equipment from inside India territory and along the LAC, the Chinese side raised objections to India’s infrastructure development.
It was conveyed that infrastructure development will go on in Indian territory and that China has already developed infrastructure on its side, sources said. Senior defence sources had told The Hindu earlier that infrastructure development would continue along the LAC despite the ongoing tensions. China’s actions violate the existing boundary agreement meant to preserve peace and tranquillity on the border and this was also communicated, it has been learnt.
“A meeting was held between the Corps Commander based in Leh and the Chinese Commander on June 6, 2020 in the Chushul-Moldo region,” the MEA said in a statement. The Indian delegation was led by Lt. Gen. Harinder Singh, 14 Corps commander and the Chinese side was led by Maj. Gen. Liu Lin, Commander of South Xinjiang military region.
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Both sides agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements and keeping in view the agreement between the leaders that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border regions is essential for the overall development of bilateral relations, the MEA stated.
In a release indicating that the government is still hopeful of a resolution of the standoff that has lasted weeks, the MEA said both sides have “maintained communications” through diplomatic and military channels in recent weeks, and called for an “early resolution” to the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. The senior military commander level talks are at the highest level so far in the series of military and diplomatic communications that the two sides have held to address the standoff.
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Tensions between the two sides have continued for more than a month, and serious skirmishes were reported between the Indian Army and PLA soldiers at several points of the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and Sikkim since May 5, where China is understood to have made significant incursions, and the Indian Army has also bolstered its positions. In its release, the MEA said the two sides will continue diplomatic and military engagements to resolve the “situation”, without elaborating on developments on the ground.
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Communications between senior military commanders will ensure that tensions don’t flare up on the ground as talks continue at the highest levels to find a way to resolve the issue, an officer, who had served in the area in the past, said on condition of anonymity.
“Like we saw in Doklam and other standoffs in the past, troops on the ground will remain dug up till the issue is resolved at the diplomatic or political level,” the officer said, adding that it could be a long haul.
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“Both sides also noted that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and agreed that an early resolution would contribute to the further development of the relationship,” the MEA statement added.